Coming toward the close of my time here in England, I am starting to look back at the last six months, and I realize that the greatest thing I will take away from this experience is the friendships I made.
To the friends who have traveled with me, I am writing this letter to say, thank you.
Thank you for traveling with me for three weeks straight during spring break.
Thank you for the 3 a.m. wake up calls, the 7 a.m. flights, the hour drive to the airport, the delays and the security lines.
Thank you for staying in with me when I didn't want to go out, and for dressing up with me when I did.
Thank you for taking me to Paris when I was feeling down, and for using every bad name under the sun when I didn't win that student government election.
Thank you for telling me when to stop shopping and for convincing me to buy that Venetian mask anyway. You're right — it will look great in my room.
Most importantly, thank you for being the family I needed while mine were 4,000 miles away.
Studying abroad was not always fun and games, but it was never lonely. The friends I made were half of the adventure. Thank you for laughing until you cry. Thank you for always getting my "good side." Thank you for yelling at me when the bus didn't stop, and thank you for finding two men in kilts and calling dibs on one for me and one for you.
I may not remember every place we went, every joke that we made, every meal we ate or place we slept in, but I will remember that we had the best time of lives and that we will never be this young again.
Everyone always says making friends is the easy part, but they never tell you it's the best part.
I got to travel the world with my best friends.
I got to row a boat in Versailles, stand off the edge of a cliff in Ireland, watch a symphony in Prague and dance in the rain in Germany with you.
I got to ride in a Harry Potter-style train in the German countryside with you, try a bottle of Scotch for the first time with you and get lost in Venice with you.
It doesn't matter if these memories are big ones of small ones, monumental moments or last minutes decisions; all these memories compiled together form the greatest six months of my life, and whether or not I remember every detail or save all my photos, I will know that these moments will shape me into becoming the person I will be when I come home. I know that I am not the same person who boarded a plane six months ago by herself for the first time in her life. I may not be smarter or healthier or more mature than I was when I left, but I know I'll be happier. Happier than I have ever been in my life, and I could say that this is all because of the trips I took and the places I visited, but that would be a lie. It's because of you, and the friends that I made, and the places that we went to together.
So thank you.